Sunday, March 29, 2015

Nature's Wonderland, January 1965

Sometimes I wish there was some kind of wonderland. Maybe a donut wonderland? No… that's not it. A twerking wonderland? Hmmm, that's not quite right either. A daytime TV wonderland? I've got it! "Nature's Wonderland"! Perfecto! 

These are from a lot of slides that tended to veer toward the weirdly dark and moody. These aren't too bad though! I think 90 percent of Nature's Wonderland photos were taken in the Rainbow Desert area, and these are no different; In this first one, our vantage point seems kind of high up… we are at eye level with those tall saguaro cacti, and even as high as many of the stone formations. Could this have been taken from the Disneyland Railroad? It's kind of odd. Anyway, the detail I like in the line of pack mules in the distance, heading toward the Natural Arch to our left.

There are those crazy geysers. It was a pleasant thing to have cool water spray drift over you on a hot summer day. I wonder if they turned these off on a day in which the powerful Santa Ana winds kicked in? Guests could have been drenched.


Nanook said...


Ahhh - a Nature's Wonderland Sunday. Nature's Paintpots look particularly sinister today - as if they could erupt at any moment - soaking all those unsuspecting guests.

You were making me a little bit nervous while mentioning the possibility of a TV Wonderland. Scary-!! I'll take 'Nature's Wonderland' any day.

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

Nanook - There actually was a TV Wonderland of sorts, the "Enchanted Voyage" at King's Island's Hanna Barbera Land. Wikipedia says it ran from the park's opening date in '72 through the summer of '81, but I'm not entirely sure about that. We moved to Dayton in the late summer of '81 and I'm almost certain I remember riding it with friends I didn't make until the following year. I could be wrong though; maybe I remember us lamenting the loss of Enchanted Voyage as we waited in line to ride it's Smurf-themed makeover.

Enchanted Voyage was a leisurely boat ride into a giant television set and through the Hanna Barbera cartoon canon, obviously inspired by its a small world. Not quite Disney standard, but fun and, equally importantly, air conditioned. That alone was enough to get a group of junior high boys to continue to ride after it was converted to a Smurf adventure.

Here's a series of photos of the ride accompanied by the soundtack to give you an idea of what the ride was like;

K. Martinez said...

The reason why so many photos were taken of the Living Desert is because it really was the best part of Nature's Wonderland in my ever so humble opinion. How can one resist that Disney rockwork. However, Cascade Peak could well be the most photographed element of Nature's Wonderland since it lasted quite a bit longer than the Living Desert and could be seen in many backdrops of Frontierland images. Either way that Disney rockwork seems to captivate photographers.

Wonderland? What about Blunderland? Let's take a visit to Nature's Blunderland or take a ride on Big Blunder Mountain Railroad. Nice geyser shots today. Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

Enchanted Voyage is disturbing on so many levels! But air conditioning does cover a multitude of sins. They had a Hanna-Barbera Land at Canada's Wonderland when I was a kid, but the only thing resembling a dark ride was a Smurf Cave walk-through funhouse.

For children's-TV-based theme park rides, give me Idlewild's Mister Rogers Neighborhood trolley ride.

K. Martinez said...

Speaking of Enchanted Voyage at Kings Island, anyone remember the Lost World Mountain in Kings Dominion which featured three attractions within the mountain; Journey to Atlantis, Land of the Dooz and Time Shaft? That was back when Taft Broadcasting owned the chain of parks which consisted of Kings Island, Kings Dominion and Carowinds.

Melissa - That was cool. Great attraction host. I was a little too old for Mister Rogers Neighborhood when it debuted, but I do remember several of those characters featured in the video. Thanks for sharing it!

Anonymous said...

In answer to your question, there were rare days when the wind was sufficient to cause the geysers to be shut down. KS (former MT operator)

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, as an adult I am not so crazy about getting wet at the parks, but when I was a kid, any opportunity to get soaked was welcome!

Chuck, I should have used my capitalization more carefully (yet another GDB typo), because it has to be a "Daytime Television Wonderland". So you'll have Jack LaLanne, Jonny Sokko and his Flying Robot, The Beverly Hillbillies, Speed Racer, The Mike Douglas Show, and so on! I have never heard of the "Enchanted Voyage", it sounds kind of awesome. I was going to check out YouTube, but you already provided a link to the photos and soundtrack! It was like a cross between "Splash Mountain", "Knott's Berry Tales", "It's a Small World"… only with music that wasn't as good. Fascinating!

K. Martinez, I liked the Living Desert, but what about that train trestle and "Bear Country"? I loved that part! It did go by relatively quickly, though; you are right about Cascade Peak, it outlasted the ride by years. "Blunderland" I can't imagine what that ride would be like!

Melissa, thank you for the link to the video to the Mister Rogers ride! I have NEVER heard of it. The animatronic King Friday is awesome! So many of the voices sound like Mr. Rogers, holding his nose. I love that this funny, odd, gentle trolley ride exists!

K. Martinez, I am starting to think that there must be dozens (scores?) of amazing themed rides that I have never heard of. Oh, for a time machine! That way I could bring a modern camera with me and capture high-quality photos (and video).

KS, thank you for the info! I feel like I had another question for you (from a past post), but I've forgotten it now. Darnit.

Nanook said...

@ Chuck-

I'm fairly certain I "permitted myself" to experience Enchanted Voyage on one of my trips to Kings Island. Watching/listening to it now, I can understand why it was happily extricated from my memory. And just in case anyone doubts the superiority of the Disney parks experience to most all other offerings, they need only sample this 'trip through hell' to get set straight.